Food & Allied Workers Union v Ngcobo NO and Another

Case No.  Lower Court Judgments  Hearing Date
 CCT 50/13  KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Durban, 3 April 2012
SCA, 28 March 2013
29 Aug. 2013

By Mzukisi Kota on 29 May 2013

This case is concerned with the question of whether a trade union is liable for damages to its members where it has failed to perform in terms of a mandate to represent its members in proceedings before the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (“the CCMA”) and the Labour Court.

Broadly, the Labour Relations Act provides that where there is a dispute about the fairness of a dismissal, the dismissed employee may refer the dispute to the CCMA within 30 days of the dismissal.  If the CCMA fails to resolve the dispute through conciliation, it issues a certificate that the dispute remains unresolved and the employee may then refer the dispute to the Labour Court for adjudication.  This referral must be made within 90 days after the CCMA has issued its certificate.  Continue reading

Brittania Beach Estate (Pty) Ltd and others v Saldanha Bay Municipality

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author  Vote
CCT 11/13 Western Cape High Court, 6 Jun. 2011
SCA, 30 Nov. 2012
28 May 2013 5 Sep. 2013 Froneman J.  Unanimous

By Duncan Wild on 12 September 2012

The case involves a challenge brought by a property developer (“Brittania“) against a tariff used to determine bulk infrastructure development levies by the Saldanha Bay Municipality (“the Municipality“).  Section 42 of the Land Use Planning Ordinance 15 of 1985 (“LUPO”) allows a municipality to impose conditions on the grant of applications for rezoning and sub-division of land (the applications are made in terms of sections 16 and 25 of LUPO).  The tariff for the calculation of capital contributions is set by council resolution. Continue reading

Coetzee v National Commissioner of Police and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author  Vote
CCT 124/12 North Gauteng High Court, 11 Oct. 2012
Supreme Court of Appeal, 16 Nov. 2012
21 May. 2013 29 Aug. 2013 Nkabinde J.  Unanimous

By Duncan Wild on 13 September 2013.

The case originally involved a challenge to the requirements for a lawful arrest, in circumstances where the appellant, Mr Coetzee, was flagged down by a metro police officer and refused to stop, on the basis, according to Mr Cotzee, that he would drive to the nearest police station.  The case also considers whether the North Gauteng High Court was correct in ordering that Mr Coetzee be released from custody on the basis of his unlawful detention.

The respondents appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal who upheld the appeal finding for the respondents, ordering the applicant to pay the costs of the appeal. In the Constitutional Court the remaining issue was an appeal against the costs order of the Supreme Court of Appeal.  The Constitutional Court, in an unanimous judgment authored by Nkabinde J (Moseneke DCJ, Froneman J, Jafta J, Khampepe J, Mhlantla AJ, Skweyiya J and Zondo J concurring), found that the appeal did not relate to a constitutional issue, and so leave to appeal should not be granted. Continue reading

KwaZulu-Natal Joint Liaison Committee v Member of the Executive Council Department of Education, KwaZulu-Natal and Others

Case No.
Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author
CCT 60/12 KwaZulu-Natal High Court, 4 Oct. 2011 22 Nov. 2012 25 Apr. 2013 Cameron J. 6-4

By Duncan Wild on 25 April 2013

The KwaZulu-Natal Joint Liaison Committee (“”the Committee“) is an association of independent schools that describe themselves as impoverished and dependent on State subsidies.  The Committee brought the case on the basis that the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (“the Department“) issued a notice in September 2008 setting out “approximate” subsidies for the 2009/2010 year.  The subsidies actually paid out were on average 30% less than stipulated in the notice.

The question the Constitutional Court had to determine is whether issuing the notice, against a background of payments in previous years that did align with the amounts set out in the notices, created a binding obligation to pay the amounts set out in the notice.

A secondary question, in part argued by the amicus, the Centre for Child Law, is that bearing in mind the right to basic education, the issuing of the notice created a legitimate expectation amongst the schools that the subsidies would not be significantly reduced when paid.

In the main judgment authored by Justice Cameron (and concurred in by Moseneke DCJ, Froneman J, Khampepe J, Skweyiya J and Yacoob J), it was held that the notice did not give rise to a contractual obligation.  The notice did, however, find that once a public official had made a public statement of a promise to pay specified amounts, that amount could not be unilaterally reduced after the due date for payment. The Constitutional Court therefore overturned the High Court decision and ordered the Department to pay the approximate amounts specified in the 2008 notice.  Continue reading

Pilane and Another v Pilane and Another

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author Vote
CCT  46/12
North West High Court, 30 Jun. 2011
13 Sep. 2012
28 Feb. 2013 Skweyiya J. 8-2

Mr Nyalala Pilane, the officially recognized Kgosi and the Traditional Council of the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela Traditional Community (“the Traditional Council“), obtained an order in the High Court against Mr Mmuthi Pilane and Mr R Dintwe to prevent them from holding meetings under the auspices of certain entities without their permission, from acting in contravention of statutes governing traditional leadership and representing themselves as a traditional authority.  

The Majority of the Constitutional Court overturned the decision of the High Court and set aside the interdict.  The Majority held that the requirements for an interdict had not been met, primarily on the basis that Mr Nyalala Pilane and the Traditional Council did not have rights to prevent Mr Mmuthi Pilane and Mr Dintwe from ” [o]rganising or proceeding with any meeting purporting to be a meeting of the Traditional Community or Motlhabe Tribal Authority without proper authorisation by either of the [respondents].”  Neither did they show that Mr Mmuthi Pilane or Mr Dintwe had or were likely to breach of the statutes governing traditional leadership. Finally, the Majority held that merely using the names “Bakgatla-Ba-Kautlwale” and “Bakgatla-Ba-Motlhabe” did not suggest that Mr Mmuthi Pilane or Mr Dintwe were claiming to be a traditional authority, but these names were merely “signifiers of the applicants’ ancestral lineage and their place of settlement“. Continue reading

Mazibuko, MP v Sisulu, MP and Another

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author  Vote
CCT 115/12 Western Cape High Court, 22 Nov. 2012 28 Mar. 2013 27 Aug. 2013 Moseneke DCJ  6-4

By Duncan Wild on 27 August 2013

The issue in this case is whether section 102(2) of the Constitution provides a minority of members in the National Assembly with a right to bring a motion of no confidence in the President, and if so whether the Rules of the National Assembly fail to give effect to that right.

This case was brought by Ms Lindiwe Mazibuko acting in her capacity as leader of the opposition in the National Assembly under section 57(2) of the Constitution.  On 8 November 2012, Ms Mazibuko gave notice of her intention to move a motion of no confidence in the President, in terms of section 102(2) of the Constitution.  After various internal processes occurred, the Speaker of Parliament determined that the motion could not be tabled for debate.  Continue reading